Tunes by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, others to be removed from websites
BEIJING — Lady Gaga is a threat to China’s “national cultural security,” according to the censors at the country’s Ministry of Culture.
As part of the “regulation of management of Internet culture,” music download sites have been told to remove around 100 songs, including 20 foreign songs, or face the consequences, with Lady Gaga leading the list of censored artists with six of her latest album songs, including “Judas.”
Fearful of the spread of Middle East-style protests against authoritarian rule, and of any destabilizing influences ahead of a change of leadership next year, Beijing has been laying down the law online.
The songs on the list had never been submitted for official censorship, the ministry said.
Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” and “E.T.,” featuring Kanye West, are also censored, and three songs by Natalie Walker.
Four songs by Simple Plan are in the list, as is, somewhat obscurely, the Backstreet Boys’ oldie “I Want It That Way.”
The ministry reserves most of its ire for suspect Cantopop from Hong Kong and Mandarin Pop from Taiwan. The campaign is an ongoing one. In January and again in March, the ministry ordered 200 songs to be taken off.
There has been a much sharper focus on foreign music since Icelandic singer Bjork shouted “Tibet! Tibet!” at the end of her song “Declare Independence” at a 2008 concert in Shanghai.
The post said that all the music listed must be deleted from the Internet by Sept. 15 otherwise the providers will be punished.
The latest victim appears to be the microblogging site Weibo, which is hugely popular in a country where Twitter and Facebook are banned.
It has 200 million users.
Weibo’s operator, Sina, a private company, is cracking down on “the spread of false rumors” after the Communist Party told web companies to tighten control over information online. Sina has set up a channel called “Weibo Refutes Rumors” to spread denials of “false” information.